2014 NFL Draft: Easy-to-View Grades for Round 1 Results

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistMay 9, 2014

Louisville defensive lineman Marcus Smith runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Monday, Feb. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

If you’re looking for one word to describe the results of the first round of the 2014 NFL draft, it would be unpredictable.

With three quarterbacks drafted in the first 32 picks, a huge rush on defensive backs and a plethora of surprise selections, football fans were treated to a wild example of why the NFL is the best league in the United States.

Here is an easy-to-view guide to the first round, featuring grades for every move.

2014 NFL Draft Results and Grades
Pick Team Player Position SchoolGrade
1 Houston Texans Jadeveon Clowney DE South CarolinaA
2 St. Louis Rams Greg Robinson OT AuburnA
3 Jacksonville Jaguars Blake Bortles QB UCFC
4 Buffalo Bills Sammy Watkins WR ClemsonB
5 Oakland Raiders Khalil Mack OLB BuffaloA
6 Atlanta Falcons Jake Matthews OT Texas A&MA
7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mike Evans WR Texas A&MB
8 Cleveland Browns Justin Gilbert CB Oklahoma StateB
9 Minnesota Vikings Anthony Barr OLB UCLAC
10 Detroit Lions Eric Ebron TE North CarolinaB
11 Tennessee Titans Taylor Lewan OT MichiganC
12 New York Giants Odell Beckham Jr. WR LSUB
13 St. Louis Rams Aaron Donald DT PittsburghB
14 Chicago Bears Kyle Fuller CB Virginia TechC
15 Pittsburgh Steelers Ryan Shazier OLB Ohio StateC
16 Dallas Cowboys Zack Martin OL Notre DameB
17 Baltimore Ravens C.J. Mosley ILB AlabamaA
18 New York Jets Calvin Pryor S LouisvilleA
19 Miami Dolphins Ja'Wuan JamesOT TennesseeC
20 New Orleans Saints Brandin Cooks WR Oregon StateA
21 Green Bay Packers Ha Ha Clinton-Dix S AlabamaB
22 Cleveland Browns Johnny Manziel QB Texas A&MB
23 Kansas City Chiefs Dee Ford DE AuburnC
24 Cincinnati Bengals Darqueze Dennard CB Michigan StateB
25 San Diego Chargers Jason Verrett CB TCUB
26 Philadelphia Eagles Marcus Smith OLB LouisvilleC
27 Arizona Cardinals Deone Bucannon S Washington StateC
28 Carolina Panthers Kelvin Benjamin WR Florida StateB
29 New England Patriots Dominique Easley DT FloridaC
30 San Francisco 49ers Jimmie Ward S Northern IllinoisB
31 Denver Broncos Bradley Roby CB Ohio StateC
32 Minnesota Vikings Teddy Bridgewater QB LouisvilleC
Source: NFL.com.


Biggest Surprise on Day 1: Philadelphia Eagles

New head coach Chip Kelly has been heralded as an offensive genius, but there are major questions about his defensive style and if it will translate to the NFL.

After struggling last season maintaining any consistency in the pass rush, the franchise made up its mind and focused on outside linebackers that would fit the 3-4 defensive scheme. With the No. 26 overall pick, Philadelphia picked Louisville standout Marcus Smith.

While many fans immediately panicked, Ike Reese of 610WIP helped them off the ledge:

The Eagles were originally slotted in the No. 22 position of the first round, but a deal with the Cleveland Browns moved them back four spots and netted them the No. 83 overall selection as a consolation prize.

Kelly told Reuben Frank of CSN Philly about trading down and the decision to bring in Smith:

We thought it was big just because we wanted Marcus, and we felt like if we went back just enough we could get that extra pick. We don’t know who that guy is, but last year that guy was Bennie Logan, so if you have a chance to go back just enough and still get the guy you want and get a Bennie Logan-type player, that’s a great deal for us.

Smith has incredibly long arms (34 inches) and an explosive knack for finding the quarterback, but he has been troubled by evading blocks and shedding them. In the NFL, Smith must learn to roll with the blocks before shedding and making tackles.

Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com breaks down Smith’s tangibles:

This is a player who was a quarterback in high school before making the transition to linebacker in 2010. With elite speed off the edge and a raw upside as he continues to develop, Smith is the ideal pass-rush specialist that Philadelphia has lacked since making the change to the 3-4 defense.

There were many experts and teams that felt this was a reach, but the team got a solid player that fits a need in their scheme, according to Jeff McLane of The Philadelphia Inquirer and Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com:

Add Smith to a group of outside linebackers like Trent Cole, Brandon Graham and Connor Barwin, and the Eagles’ weakness could become one of its biggest strengths as the team enters its second year under the new scheme.

There is no doubt that this was a risky pick, but with Philadelphia collecting another pick and still getting the player the franchise was targeting, the organization must feel like this was a small victory Thursday.

Overall Grade: C


Stats via NFL.com.